Classes may have been out, but Cornell wrestling stayed plenty busy. In just over a month, the Red competed in six matches, three against nationally ranked teams. Cornell reigned victorious in four of these winter break competitions, and is now not only 6-2 on the season, but ranked No. 10 in the nation.
Yet despite its successes, wrestling — which, last year, lost only two of its 15 matches — is not content.
“We had mediocre performances, so I can’t say I am overly pleased with results,” said head coach Rob Koll. “That being said, we are finally getting everyone back into the lineup so I expect a vastly improved team moving forward.”
The Red kicked off winter break on Dec. 16 with an away match against No. 16 Northern Iowa, winning decisively, 21-14.
Two weekends later, Cornell headed to the South Beach Duals in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where, despite having its first match of the tournament cancelled, the Red faced three teams in just over 24 hours. The Red came out on top in the first two competitions, beating out Wyoming 23-9 and Indiana 32-10, but fell to No. 6 Missouri 9-22.
Cornell’s decision to head south was largely to cut down on time spent in Ithaca over break, Koll said.
“Wrestling can be a miserable sport,” Koll said. “So anything we can do to make the training aspect more enjoyable is invaluable.”
Two weekends later, Cornell faced its only other loss thus far this season, succumbing to Lehigh 16-19.
This past Saturday, however, Cornell bounced back, dominating Columbia 30-10 on a snowy day in New York City, even as it entered the match missing nearly half of its starting lineup.
The Red’s Ivy League win streak now stands at 84.
In addition to its place in the national polls, Cornell currently claims six individually ranked wrestlers: No.1 ranked sophomore Yianni Diakomihalis in the 141 weight class, who last year won nationals as a true freshman, along with No.10 sophomore Max Dean in the 184 weight class, No. 11 freshman Vito Arujau in the 125 weight class, No.12 junior Chas Tucker in the 133 weight class, No. 15 senior Brandon Womack in the 174 weight class and No.17 senior Ben Honis in the 197 weight class.
Despite fielding a wide breadth of highly talented individuals, Koll nevertheless believes the team — owing mostly to winter break absences — has lacked the full extent of its depth.
“For this reason I am particularly excited to have everyone back in the lineup,” he said.
The Red hits the road once again to face Brown this Saturday at 11 a.m., which, should Cornell claim victory, will be Koll’s 300th as head coach.